Categories
Psychology Relationships Self-Esteem

5 Benefits of Personal Development

If your goal is to become a better version of yourself, then personal development is something you should focus on. In fact, even though it may seem so easy to go through life without thinking deeper about ourselves, investing in personal development can yield tremendous benefits to both your personal and professional life.

Better Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is what gives you a sense of your own abilities as well as weaknesses. People with low self-awareness can go through life not knowing why they run into the same situation. They don’t recognize the patterns. Once you have self-awareness, you can better navigate through life situations knowing which part of your personality causes certain situations to appear in your life.

Greater Resilience

Life is not always about happiness and prosperity. Each of us goes through tougher times countless times in our life. When you have better self-awareness, you tend to be more perseverant when facing difficulties.

A Clearer Sense of Direction

Many of us go through life not really knowing what we want. As a result, we drift through life and let circumstances push us around. Not anymore with personal development. Once you become more aware and resilient, you know exactly where you want to be and work hard to achieve it. Difficulties no longer scare you as much, as you realize they are part of the journey.

More Fulfilling Relationships

By knowing who you are deep inside, you also know who you want to be with in terms of interpersonal relationships. You no longer want to stay in a toxic relationship for fear of being alone. You build friendships with people who lift you up.

More Motivation to Excel in Life

A lack of motivation is what keeps us from achieving our goals. One way to build motivation is to embark on a personal development journey. By getting to know yourself better, you’ll find motivation along the way.

Categories
Psychology Self-Esteem

Why Do We Procrastinate and How to Overcome Procrastination with Temptation Bundling

How many of you have problems completing your daily goals? If you are like me, you often find yourself setting up goals that you end up missing at the end of the day. From my own observation, there’s always something that will interfere with my ability to consistently complete the tasks. Whether it’s the hot/cold weather, or the uncomfortable chair, or the distracting noises nearby. Even if the outside environment looks perfectly productive, I still find reasons within myself to postpone completing a task or prolong the time it takes to complete it. 

Our mind is our greatest enemy.

The inability to concentrate on the task at hand is the major reason why projects fail and goals are not met. Our mind is very creative when it comes up with endless things to do that have nothing to do with the task we are supposed to complete at all. Conquering such a wandering mind requires great effort, and a bit of a strategy.

First of all, we need to understand why we avoid certain tasks and keep procrastinating even though we know it leads nowhere but failure.

The Avoidance of Pain

Believe it or not, your mind constantly searches for pleasure and avoids pain. For example, you watch that movie because it gives you joy. You can’t wait to try the dessert because you already know how delicious it tastes. On the contrary, you would avoid putting your hands on top of a hot stove because experience from the past tells you it’s a bad idea.

Our brain’s tendency to avoid pain is crucial to our survival. After all, if our ancestors didn’t learn from their bad experiences and avoid all pain-causing objects, we would not be here today. However, since our brain mostly operates on a survival mode, it can mislead us into avoiding tasks that can lead to our success.

If you are like me, you dislike Math. That’s why when it comes to completing the Math homework, I often find myself procrastinating. It’s funny how our brain tricks us into believing that we can successfully crack that difficult homework the night before the deadline.

How the Avoidance of Pain Can Ruin Your Life

There are two types of motivation behind everything you do: either it derives from love or from fear. Love and fear are the two strongest emotions that are the driving force behind our actions. For example:

  •  When doing their homework, most people often do it out of fear of failing their class. 
  • When you decide to cook a lovely meal for your partner, chances are you are doing it out of love, not because you fear they would throw a tantrum if you don’t.
  • When you eat chocolate, you do it because it gives you pleasure, a form of loving feelings. When you try to stay away from chocolate, you may do it out of fear of gaining weight.

There is nothing wrong with using fear to propel you forward, as with the case of finishing high school or graduating from university for fear of not getting a good job. However, acting out of fear doesn’t always work in real-life situations. In fact, most of the time, it does you more harm than good.

Staying in a boring job that you hate because you are afraid you won’t be able to find employment after quitting is not only detrimental to your mental health but also a waste of time. Yet, many people do so. They rationalize their choice by believing that it will get better with time and after some time, they may get a promotion.

The fear of instability often leads us to choose something we are familiar with rather than opting for something unknown. That’s the reason why most people opt to climb the corporate ladder rather than launching their own business. It feels much safer having a paycheck deposited into your account each month than to struggle to find your own customers, beat the competition, and make a profit.

When you find yourself procrastinating, deep inside yourself, you are avoiding some kind of pain that you may not even be aware of. Many of our fears get imprinted in the subconscious mind and become the underlying force that dictates our life even though we are not aware of them. Therefore, to overcome procrastination, first, you need to look deep inside yourself to figure out what is the fear that’s preventing you from taking action.

Many times, people procrastinate because they fear failure. For example, you postpone writing that dream book of your life because you fear no one would be interested in reading it. You take forever to set up your ecommerce business because of the overwhelming fear of competition. How will customers find you? Would they buy the product?

Now, think about this. If you know for sure that doing X will result in Y which is the result you want, would you hesitate to do X? I doubt that you will. When the route is clear and the result is certain, you will have no fear of taking action.

By understanding the underlying fear that governs your procrastination, you’ll stand a better chance of overcoming it.

(to be continued…)

Categories
Self-Esteem

How to Improve Your Self-Esteem (And How Would It Help You Anyway)

Good and Bad Self Esteem

You initially think as long as it’s high self-esteem, it’s good, right? After all, isn’t it something most books taught you? “Be confident. Believe in yourself. Believe in what you want. And you will get what you want.” I’m not criticizing the aforementioned statement, on the contrary, that’s what I live by. What I’m talking about here are different spectrums of self-esteem.

Back in the 1980s, the Californian State lawmakers carried out an experiment: They funded a project to help increase the self-esteem level of all the Californian residents. The purpose? Because some books stated that low self-esteem was the root cause of all bad things in society: homicides, robberies, unemployment, abortions, teen pregnancies, low grades. Therefore, in an attempt to lower people’s dependency on drugs, state funds, boost the economy and make the world a better place, the legislators came up with the idea. Self-esteem boosting programs were introduced as part of the education system. Grades were inflated to make the students/pupils feel better about themselves. The result? Not so much promising. In fact, the lawmakers were so disappointed that doubts started to creep in.

How Is Self-Esteem Measured

The scientists currently use the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale to measure a person’s self- esteem level. If you want to do a little test on your own self-esteem, head over here: www.health.harvard.edu/mentalextra and complete some simple questions regarding your emotional intelligence.

When Is Self-Esteem a Good Thing?

High self-esteem is what motivates people to achieve great things in life. Studies have shown that people with high self-esteem tend to have less mental or relationship problems. They also have a higher chance of success in life. Why? Because their belief in themselves is so high that they don’t view every challenge appearing on their route to obtaining their goal as a dead-end thing or get de-motivated about defeats. And because they keep on going, they will eventually reach their destination.

If you know that low self-esteem increases your risk of poverty, would you be motivated enough to change yourself? Here’s a simple explanation of the phenomenon: People who have low self-esteem don’t usually believe in themselves or the things they do. They negatively self-talk themselves into believing the negative scenario of the future. And when they don’t think their actions will work out, what do they do? They don’t put in their full efforts, and stop trying on encountering the first challenge (which is inherently part of any goal/process). Thus, they achieve minimal or no results. And there goes the circle again. “I knew this wouldn’t work out!” They told themselves so, reinforcing the low self-esteem that was the root cause of their failure in the first place.

Research has also found out that people with high self-esteem tend to bounce back quicker when undergoing a tough time, and their stress hormone levels tend to return to normal quicker as well.

When Is High Self-Esteem Bad?

When high self-esteem is not justified by reality, it becomes questionable. I would scratch my head in confusion if you continue to feel good about yourself while your life is falling apart around you. If you just focus on feeling good all the time, you will become a delusional narcissist who refuses criticism and chase after feeling good no matter what.

John is a person who is always confident about himself. He tells people about the grand schemes he has for his life. He’s always busy chasing after his dreams. The problem is, he has no facts to back his confidence up. Even though he’s busy building, he hasn’t found success. He sells his dreams to his relatives, friends, and anyone who is willing to listen so as to get them to lend him money to fund his projects. Whenever people criticize him, he refuses to listen and counter-strikes back that they are merely jealous or do not understand his scheme. He spends borrowed money on extravagant things such as expensive dinners to impress partners, newly met people, or girls. He has the need to show off his luxury lifestyle to prove to people how successful he is. But soon, reality will catch up with him. People are tired of asking for their money back time after time and all they got was more bullshit promises from John. He cuts contact with them.

John may not be the intentional con artist, but his narcissistic personality makes him one.

Do you know what’s the most dangerous thing about focusing on feeling high all the time? That you end up chasing after the things that make you feel high, regardless of whether they are meaningful to your life or your goal or not. Surely buying new expensive shoes or designer clothes feels good, but does it help if the price of each item is your entire month’s salary? Surely listening to this song feels good, but does it help you pass your imminent test tomorrow morning, which you haven’t even studied yet because you are busy listening to music?

And to make matters worse, most criminals, sex offenders, and child abusers do not suffer from low self-esteem either. In fact, bullies and psychopaths tend to think highly of themselves.

I feel very strongly that we need to regard self-esteem in a more practical way. Toxic self-esteem will not help you grow as a person. Healthy self-esteem does.

Practice Gratitude

Believe it or not, even when you are at your lowest point, you still have something to be grateful for. Being alive at the moment is among those things. You may not realize because your brain works on autopilot, but breathing in the fresh air and feeling it permeate your body is something beautiful and to be grateful for.

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” 

Charles Dickens

Even if you are feeling totally shitty and wonder what the heck to be grateful for, stop, and think. IS IT REALLY THAT BAD?! Now, rewind your memory a little bit to think of another difficult time that you have been through. How did you overcome it? The last time you encountered a challenge, you thought it was the end of the world, just like this one, right? The funny thing about our brain and perception is we tend to negative-talk ourselves into believing the extreme. If you are a bit of a stuck-up asshole who thinks too highly of yourself, to the point of delusional confidence, you tend to view everything, you, the situation, your talent, your appearance, in a much better light than the reality. The reverse is true for a pessimistic person. That’s why it gets tricky. That’s why next time your brain tells you how terrible or how brilliant you are, counter-question it.

Now, back to the topic of gratitude. What does it have to do with improving self-esteem anyway, you ask. Well, the basic of high self-esteem is the appreciation we have about our self. Since you can only be appreciative of yourself if you are grateful for what you have, who you are, etc. , gratitude does play a part here. Oprah Winfrey had something to say about gratitude. She said that if you are grateful for what you currently have, you will end up with more. If you only focus on the lack of things, sure enough, you will never be happy, no matter how much you have. Happiness is a state of the mind, so it stands to reason that you can instantly feel happy by changing your state of mind. How do I change my state of mind, you ask. By thinking about something good. And researches have shown that just by changing our posture, we can change the way we feel. The next time you feel sad, just straighten up, and smile. You’ll see the difference.